Read an Excerpt
Resting her head in her hands, the director sighed as she watched the actresses run through the scene yet again. This was the scene dress rehearsal. There was only a week left to go before opening night, and the damn thing still wasn’t working.
Six months ago, the Women’s Theatre Group had agreed to put on a stage production of the autobiography of a local feminist activist named Yolanda Jacobs. But now, at the eleventh hour, the director was seriously thinking about calling off the whole thing.
In the first part of her book, Yolanda had written about how at school in the late 1950s, she had been a nonconformist rebel until a certain schoolmistress had caned her into submission; how this mistreatment had left her a placid doormat until the dawn of Women’s Lib. So in the first scene, the actress who played the young Yolanda Jacobs was to be punished repeatedly until she relented.
In technical terms, things couldn’t have been better. The lines were learnt, the sets and costumes were made and the stage management was flawless. But even now after months of rehearsals, the acting was still about as wooden as a tree and as believable as the Sunday Sport.
They had gone through the whole scene seven times that day, but they still hadn’t made any progress and the director was on the verge of blowing her top.
In her prop glasses, tweed skirt suit and five-inch high heels and with her hair up in a bun, the tall, blonde actress who played Yolanda’s schoolmistress looked to be the very essence of authority. But even dressed the way she was, the woman still swung the cane as if it were a conductor’s baton.
The actress who played Yolanda too, supposedly the impassioned rebel with her skirt too short and her hair too long, made no attempt to resist her punishment.
“For God’s sake!” bellowed the director as she stormed up onto the stage. “How many times do we have to do this scene?”
Grabbing the cane from the teacher’s hand, she gave her a good hard whack across the backside. And yelping with pain, the blonde actress grabbed hold of her buttocks and leapt six feet into the air.
“That’s the way you’re supposed to act when she canes you!” shouted the director, pointing the cane at the actress who was playing Jacobs.
“And Katie!” she added, turning back to the teacher. “This is how you’re supposed to behave!”
Making sure that Katie had calmed down a little, the director then gave the actress another good whack across her stinging cheeks.
“Lick my trainers clean!” she ordered, threatening Katie with another whack.
“No, Mary! Stop it!” wept the actress, rubbing her bottom yet again.
“Get down on all fours and lick my trainers!” she commanded, this time caning Katie across the back of her thighs.
“No, Mary! Stop it!”
And with that, Mary let rip, flailing the actress’s bottom, thighs and calves relentlessly, making her sob and squeal like a baby.
Katie tried to get away, running as fast as she could in her high heels and shouting for help from the other girls on stage. But they just stood and watched as Mary jogged after her, relentlessly caning her tender flesh.
Despite running as fast as she could, there was no way for the poor girl to escape. And the harder she tried, the harder that Mary caned her.
Having taken more than thirty strokes, each one more vicious than the last, Katie collapsed down onto her knees. Sobbing pitifully, completely broken and willing to do anything to make her stop, she leaned forward and tongued the director’s shoes with all her might as the tears rolled down her cheeks.